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Part 2: I Get Schooled

Posted 03-10-2013 at 06:20 PM by MaverickSawyer

Beneath The Wings, Part 2: I Get Schooled

Now that I was officially hired, I now needed to go through training before being allowed on the ramp near the aircraft. Most of this would be in the form of computer-based training through the Delta corporate network, but I would also be trained through the internet for Jet Blue and Frontier, and in-person for Hawaiian. The training was wide-ranging, and largely interesting to me, if not the other new guys (and gal)!

Training was split into two different categories: Above wing ACS (Airline Customer Service) and below wing. ALL employees of the airlines (or their contractors, like GAT) have to take at least some Above-wing ACS training, largely about the Air Carrier Accessibility Act, which covers how to politely work with passengers with disabilities. Below-wing personnel need to take this because most aircraft will not have storage space for walkers or wheelchairs, so we have to take these from the door of the aircraft to the cargo hold, and make sure that these are the FIRST things off the aircraft, and are quickly and safely delivered to the door of the aircraft after arrival.

Other training was very specific, and focused on ramp workers like myself. These lessons were on how to safely operate Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs for short); properly connecting and disconnecting power, air, water, and other ground supplies to the aircraft; how to safely handle baggage that can weigh up to 45 kg (100 lbs), and cargo that can weigh up to 225 kg (500 lbs); how to actuate cargo doors on a range of aircraft; how to read bag tags; how to identify Dangerous Goods (hazmat), and recognize what’s allowed and what’s not; and so on. These totaled more than 20 hours of time in front of the computer, listening to and watching videos, reading, and taking tests.

All told, I spent a week of half-days in the Ops center or the Delta office working on these, trying to get through it as fast as I could so that I could get my hands “dirty” out on the ramp. I was able to finish just before the arrival of the late-afternoon flight from Salt Lake City, Utah (IATA: SLC), a Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-200. I was one of three FNGs (F***ing New Guys/Gals) who completed the training in time for this, and was promptly given a loaner vest and a pair of disposable ear plugs, and told, “Time to begin your On the Job Training.”

Coming Next Week: Part 3: Oh Captain, My Captain…
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  1. Old Comment
    PhantomCruiser's Avatar
    OJT is where you'll learn the most. A flight deck/ramp/taxiway/apron can be a very dangerous place. A book or computer can only teach you so much, the only way to actually learn what "head-on-a-swivel" means is to be somewhere you need it.
    I've seen some smart people do some pretty stupid things on a flight line. So remember that "beware" really means "BE AWARE".
    Posted 03-11-2013 at 11:25 AM by PhantomCruiser PhantomCruiser is offline
  2. Old Comment
    MaverickSawyer's Avatar
    Don't worry: I did just fine. some of my fellow new hires, though, had some close encounters with jet wash. I'm planning on sharing some of those stories with the names changed to protect the (not-so-)innocent.
    Posted 03-11-2013 at 03:33 PM by MaverickSawyer MaverickSawyer is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Bloodworth's Avatar
    Lol, we don't want to her stories of close encounters with jet wash...we want to see VIDEO :D
    Posted 03-13-2013 at 03:53 AM by Bloodworth Bloodworth is offline
  4. Old Comment
    MaverickSawyer's Avatar
    I'll link the one we saw in training. Same thing with the pictures and videos of intake hazards and ingestions.
    Posted 03-14-2013 at 02:58 PM by MaverickSawyer MaverickSawyer is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Bloodworth's Avatar
    Ingestions...ewww, nasty. Sadly, I've seen a few of those.
    Posted 03-14-2013 at 09:18 PM by Bloodworth Bloodworth is offline
  6. Old Comment
    BruceJohnJennerLawso's Avatar
    Originally Posted by MaverickSawyer View Comment
    I'll link the one we saw in training. Same thing with the pictures and videos of intake hazards and ingestions.
    Always carry a wrench, they say.

    I dont really need to see the ingestions, but I do want part 3!
    Posted 03-15-2013 at 01:46 AM by BruceJohnJennerLawso BruceJohnJennerLawso is offline

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